It's fair to say a rapid exit from a dream job at a Seychelles luxury resort to, at age 38, living with mum and dad in Whanganui was not part of Andrew Morris' plans.
But this year the high-flying hospitality professional, like many Kiwis with successful international careers, found himself heading back to New Zealand as Covid-19 spread around the world.
Midway through last year, when Morris was the food and beverage manager at the five-star InterContinental Melbourne, he was offered a job at luxury chain Six Senses' Seychelles resort. A few months into his contract, Covid-19 hit.
"They said everyone has to fly home in the next few days, but then they told me I had to be on a boat in one-and-a-half hours. I was still washing clothes."
Morris managed to get back to New Zealand as international airports began closing and was self-isolating at an Auckland hotel when the Government announced the country would move into level 4 lockdown, meaning for at least the next four weeks people would have to stay wherever they were at 11.59pm on March 25. He got a flight to Wellington where his parents picked him up and drove him to their home in Whanganui.
"I found myself living with mum and dad at age 38. And it was also my first time living with anyone for the best part of a decade. My parents moved to Whanganui about five years ago and I pretty much had nowhere else to go.
"I thought in six months I'd be back in the Seychelles. The impact of Covid-19 wasn't really known yet."
Instead, Morris - whose nickname is Viper - has found himself with an unexpected opportunity in Whanganui.
A conversation between his dad and Maria Lane Eatery and Bar owner Bryce Mason led Morris to a duty manager role at the venue where he can be found mixing drinks behind the bar and out on the floor serving customers. Morris is originally from Auckland, grew up in Switzerland and moved back to Auckland where he worked at the Hyatt Regency and then for Nourish Group at high-end restaurant Euro before moving to Australia.
Morris was working on Hayman Island when Cyclone Debbie hit in 2017, devastating the island and closing the resort for two years. That prompted a move to Sydney, then to Melbourne and the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean off East Africa.
"My life has been a constant change of pace," he said.
And Morris is enjoying the change of pace at Maria Lane after years of working 11-day fortnights, 12-hour days, walking 20km-25km a day across resorts and not being able to enjoy beautiful locations because he was so busy at work.
"After being a department head and running multiple venues and being that involved in everything, it was nice to be able to take a step back for a while.
"We haven't had many quiet moments [at Maria Lane]. It's pretty cool that people are willing to enjoy the dining experience. The feedback we've been getting is that people wanted to get out [post-lockdown] and have a good time."
Morris is in no hurry to head overseas again.
"I'm quite disenchanted with those big businesses and what happened with Cyclone Debbie and again with Covid-19. There's more licence for creativity in a place like this.
"My biggest liberty for being creative was at the InterContinental Melbourne. We were able to build epic dinner and wine events."
That included being allowed to use the Harry Potter name when Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stage show was in Melbourne. The food and beverage team created a food and "Mysterious Potions and Cocktails" menu, including Headmaster's Lemon Sherbet Sour, Rialto Butter-Craft-Beer, Dark Magic, Green Mayhem Brew and The Love Potion.
Despite his love of creativity, Morris is keen on the classics when it comes to his personal cocktail preferences.
"I generally drink a whiskey old fashioned. And a margarita is classic."
Mason says having Morris on board at Maria Lane "bodes well for our future and growth".
"We're humbly grateful for the outcome. He lifts the bar in service. That fresh young energy in hospitality is great for us. It helps you see how you can achieve growth."
And what about that Viper nickname?
It's a Top Gun movie reference from the days when Morris was a frequent wearer of Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses. When he moved from Auckland to Australia, he thought the nickname had disappeared - but it emerged again when he came to Whanganui. A mutual friend of Morris and Mason saw a photo on a Maria Lane social media account and said "that's Viper". Looks like he's stuck with it.